Connecting a luxury auto manufacturer to new audiences in the UK and Germany through expression and creativity.
Branded Hashtag Challenge
Mercedes-Benz needs no introduction — a car manufacturer consistently ahead of the curve, running bold, hyper-successful marketing campaigns targeted at younger generations. Why? Because by the end of 2020, Gen Z and millennials will make up 40% of car owners on the road. It’s no surprise then that Mercedes-Benz decided to increase brand awareness and engagement with new audiences on TikTok, especially Gen Z, in the UK and Germany.
Today’s digital consumers, particularly Gen Z and young millennials, are far more motivated by experiences, mood and emotion than by products alone. So how can you engage them when you’re a brand that sells big and pretty expensive products? Mercedes-Benz launched a Hashtag Challenge on TikTok called the #MBStarChallenge to accomplish just that. Inviting users to reimagine its famous ‘star’ logo in their own unique style, be it dance, drawing, or even magic, this was a chance for users to ‘let their star shine’. The best entries then featured across official Mercedes-Benz channels.
The Hashtag Challenge employed several key tactics to drive engagement across both markets. To begin Mercedes-Benz kickstarted the challenge with popular Creators in the UK and Germany showcasing their versions of the star, including a bespoke soundtrack for the Challenge. Collectively, this drove over 2.24M video views. It then chose two types of video placements to boost exposure: two beautifully edited TopView Lite videos, presenting a premium, elevated look, and four In-Feed Ads made from repurposed Creator videos to add recognition and a native in-feed experience. Along with a Brand Banner on the Discover page, all of these drove users to the central Challenge page, creating maximum reach.
Tapping into user creativity was a clever activation, creating a strong brand connection with a new audience by focusing on them and less on vehicles. In offering up its most cherished asset (its logo) to all, Mercedes-Benz showed it understood and trusted this audience. The campaign validated the brand’s creative outlook with these nuanced digital natives, allowing them to connect with its products in a deeper, more emotional way.
Across both markets, the Hashtag Challenge was a resounding success, generating incredible UGC and mass exposure with over 862M+ video views from more than 185K videos created by over 73K participants. The variety of creative submissions was astonishing — spanning gymnastics, street dance and magic to using the app’s in-built nose painter effect to draw the ‘shining star’. Mercedes-Benz added over 30K new followers to its TikTok brand profile.
In the UK, the challenge page received 1.64M page views, topping the UK benchmark markedly. Similarly, in Germany, the challenge page exceeded its benchmark, reaching 1.4M page views. Both markets also far exceeded targets for TopView Lite CTR, reaching c.17.5%.
The Hashtag Challenge resonated strongly with a new audience of TikTok users and highlighted a strong passion for Mercedes-Benz. A post-campaign TikTok Brand Lift Study in partnership with Nielsen showed that recall increased by 66.3%, while brand favourability increased significantly by 18.2% and brand preference by 15.7%.
There’s a new star in town.